New Rome's Mayor Virginia Raggi of the 5-Star Movement waves at the end of a press conference in Rome, early Monday, June 20, 2016, soon after being elected. (Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP)
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Italy's center-left government was Monday counting the cost of stinging local election reverses that saw female mayors from the populist Five Star Movement elected in Rome and Turin.Worryingly for the premier's Democratic Party (PD), the landmark victories were achieved by M5S securing the backing or the abstention of anti-Renzi forces encompassing the far-left, the far-right and the mainstream center-right.Renzi has vowed to quit if he loses the October vote on streamling Italy's parliamentary and electoral systems.The victory in Rome surpassed all expectations with 37-year-old lawyer Virginia Raggi taking 67 percent of the votes cast in a run-off against the PD's Roberto Giachetti.The new mayor was a late entrant to politics, telling AFP recently that she had been inspired by the birth of her son Matteo to try and make her home city a better place for him to grow up in.One area in which she is likely to make an immediate impact is on the credibility of Rome's bid to host the 2024 Olympics -- one of Renzi's pet projects.
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